I started making cloth dolls a couple of years after I learned to quilt. They have a lot in common. 2 layers of fabric with batting or stuffing in the middle. A fabric doll is essentially a quilt with animation! While I work on quilting my stack of Finish it February UFOs, I thought I'd share some of my adventures with cloth dolls and their construction. I hope you will enjoy this detour!
Dolls. I was one of those little girls who always loved dolls. But only baby dolls. I was given a couple wonderful English and Italian baby dolls when we lived overseas. But were both hard molded plastic. I loved them all, but longed for a doll with a soft cuddly body. I had stuffed animals but no fabric dolls in my "family."
Until our family came home for a break in the early 1960s and we took a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along the way we stopped at a craft store. There I found the most amazing cloth dolls. I had to have one. I was probably 10 years old. I remember a discussion about my being a bit old for a new doll. Not so! Somehow I was able to convince my folks that this doll was different and worth purchasing. And so she was!
Many years later, showing evidence of years of love, here she is! She is wearing all her original clothing. Only her hair ribbons have been replaced.
She really is an amazing doll. The sections of her head and body are made from continuous long curvy strips of fabric. The center strip that makes up the middle of her face extends through the middle of her trunk. She was stuffed through an opening on the right side of her abdomen.
She has articulated button arms and legs. There is a nice curve in both her arms and legs. She sits well.
Her hair is wool yarn. I loved being able to braid it!
When I started making dolls, I considered trying to replicate her. But making a pattern with those continuous head to trunk strips really stumped me. I did design my own patterns for the cloth dolls I made. The patterns had a more conventional doll construction with separate head, trunk and extremities. I'll share some of my own creations next week.
Back to the UFOs!